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Take web maps offline

Taking web maps offline allows you to view, collect, and update features when you are disconnected from the Internet. Once you're reconnected, you can synchronize your map, send any updates you have, and get map updates from other users.

Using ArcGIS Online, you can create a web map for use offline in ArcGIS apps such as Collector for ArcGIS, ArcGIS Pro, and custom apps built with ArcGIS Runtime SDK.

You have the following two options for taking a map offline. Some apps may support one or the other, or both.

  • On demand—Field users can download any portion of the map whenever they need it. The field user specifies the area they want to take offline along with the details of the basemap required.
  • Create map areas—Map authors can create map areas to package data for specific areas ahead of time. Map areas speed up and simplify the map download process for field workers.

Enable the layers and map for offline use

To take a web map offline, all the layers, including the basemap and reference layers, must be enabled for offline use. Esri basemaps are automatically enabled for offline use. You can enable the following types of map layers for offline use:

  • Cached ArcGIS Server map services (from ArcGIS Server 10.3 or later) and cached ArcGIS Server image services (from ArcGIS Server 10.5.1 or later)—Check the Allow clients to export cache tiles check box in Advanced Settings.
  • ArcGIS Server feature services (from ArcGIS Server 10.3 or later or, if using map areas, 10.6.1 or later)—Choose the Query and Sync options to enable offline use. If you want the data to be editable, also choose any combination of Create, Delete, and Update.
  • Hosted feature layers—Check the Enable Sync check box on the Settings tab of the item page.
  • Hosted tile layers—Check the Allow this layer to be downloaded and used in an offline map check box on the Settings tab of the item page.

    To determine whether vector hosted tile layers can be used offline in a specific ArcGIS app, see the app documentation.

Note:

If you want to create map areas for offline use of your map, ensure that if you only allow editors to edit their own features in a feature layer, you also allow editors to see all features in the layer. For hosted feature layers, this means selecting the Editors can see all features option if Editors can only edit their own features (requires tracking) is also selected.

After the layers are enabled for offline use, the Offline section appears on the Settings tab of the map's item page with the Enable offline mode toggle key on. If you don’t want your map to be taken offline, click off the Enable offline mode toggle key and click Save.

If the map you want to take offline contains a tile layer, the source service definition file or tile package for the tile layer must exist in ArcGIS Online.

Note:

You can take ArcGIS tiles offline when using Esri software that supports offline use. Systematically requesting ArcGIS tiles for offline use through other apps or services is prohibited.

Create, edit, and manage map areas

To simplify the experience of offline field workers, it's recommended that you create map areas for web maps that will be used offline. Map areas allow you to package data from specific areas of a web map to make it easier and faster to download maps for offline use. Map areas can be used in Collector for ArcGIS (Aurora Project beta) and ArcGIS Runtime SDK custom apps.

When you create a map area, the data in the specified area is bundled into one or more downloadable packages. Feature layers are bundled into SQLite database files (.sqlite), tile layers into tile packages (.tpk), and vector tile layers into vector tile packages (.vtpk). Package names reflect the names of the layers they contain.

When layers in your map are updated, corresponding map area packages must be refreshed. You can set a refresh schedule to refresh feature layer packages at a specified interval and time—for example, every week at 9:00 AM—or you can refresh individual or all layer packages manually. If layers are added to or removed from the web map, you must refresh the entire map area to update the data. In some cases, you may also need to re-create or delete map areas.

To create, edit, and manage map areas for a web map, you must be the owner of the map and have privileges to publish content.

Create a map area

You can create up to 16 map areas for your web map. The number of map areas you create depends on the needs of your organization and its field workers. Before creating a map area, be sure to configure the advanced offline settings for your map. If you modify these settings after you create map areas, you will need to re-create the map areas to use the updated settings.

Note:

If you created map areas manually using ArcGIS REST API or ArcGIS API for Python before the June 2018 update of ArcGIS Online, you can still use them, but they can't be edited or refreshed. It's recommended that you delete the existing map areas and create new ones using the steps below.

Do the following to create a new map area:

  1. Ensure that all the layers in your map are enabled for offline use.
  2. On the web map's item page, click the Settings tab and click Offline at the top of the tab.
  3. In the Offline section, ensure that the Enable offline mode toggle key is on.
  4. Under Map Areas, click Manage Areas.
  5. In the Manage Areas window, click Create Area.
  6. Do any of the following to navigate to the part of the map where you want to create a map area.
    • Use the zoom buttons to zoom in or out.
    • If your map has bookmarks, click the Show bookmarks button and click a bookmark to navigate to the bookmarked area of the map.
    • To navigate to a specific place or address, enter keywords in the search box. Keywords can include addresses, street intersections, places, points of interest, longitude and latitude coordinates, and feature IDs.
  7. To draw a shape representing the map area, click the Sketch button and drag a box on the map.
  8. Do any of the following to make changes to your shape as needed:
    • To resize the shape, click to select it, hover over a vertex until the pointer changes, and drag the vertex to the desired position. Repeat this action with any of the vertices until you're satisfied with your shape.
    • To move the shape, click to select it, and drag it to a new location on the map.
  9. In the Name box, type a descriptive name for the map area.
  10. To change the quality and resolution of the downloaded raster or vector tile layers, move the Level of Detail slider to the right (for more detail) or to the left (for less detail).
  11. Under Update packages for download, set the interval and time that you want your map area packages to be refreshed to capture any changes to feature layer data. If you don't want to set an automatic refresh schedule, select Never from the drop-down menu.
    Note:

    Scheduled refreshes don't apply to tile layers. You must manually refresh tile layer packages as needed.

  12. Click Create.

    A progress bar appears, followed by a message indicating that your map area is being packaged. This can take several seconds or minutes, depending on the size of the data being packaged. Once packaging is complete, you can view a list of created packages by clicking the arrow for the map area.

  13. Repeat the steps above to create additional map areas. A web map can have up to 16 map areas.

Edit a map area

Once you've created a map area, you may want to change its name, shape, level of detail, or the schedule for refreshing feature layer packages (if set).

Do the following to edit a map area:

  1. On the web map's item page, click the Settings tab and click Offline at the top of the tab.
  2. In the Offline section, ensure that the Enable offline mode toggle key is on.
  3. Under Map Areas, click Manage Areas.
  4. If necessary, type part of the map area name in the Filter Map Areas field to help you find the map area you want to edit.
  5. Click the arrow for the map area you want to edit, and at the top of the map area pane, click the Options button Options and click Edit.
  6. In the Edit Map Area pane, change any of the settings, or change the shape of the map area as needed.
  7. Click Save when you're finished.

Manage map areas

Map area packages can be refreshed, re-created, or deleted at any time.

If you set a refresh schedule for a map area, its feature layer packages are automatically refreshed at the specified interval and time. You also have the option of manually refreshing map area packages. Refreshing a package updates the data it contains to reflect any changes made to the map data since the package was last created or refreshed. Packages should be refreshed if either of the following occurs:

  • Layers are added or removed from the map. In this case, you must refresh the entire map area to update the data accordingly.
  • The data in one or more feature layers has changed significantly since the last time it was packaged—for example, if new data was appended.

In some situations, you must re-create a map area. When you re-create a map area, all existing packages are deleted and new packages for all layers in the map are created. You must re-create a map area in the following cases:

  • Fields have been added to or removed from a layer in the map.
  • Domains or feature templates in the map have been modified.

When a map area is no longer needed, it can be deleted. Deleting a map area deletes all existing packages for the map area. However, if a map area is deleted from the web map, apps that have downloaded the map area can continue to synchronize data as long as the feature layers exist.

To manage existing map areas, do the following:

  1. On the web map's item page, click the Settings tab and click Offline at the top of the tab.
  2. In the Offline section, ensure that the Enable offline mode toggle key is on.
  3. Under Map Areas, click Manage Areas.
  4. To refresh one or more map areas, check the box next to the map area or areas you want to refresh and click Refresh.
  5. To re-create one or more map areas, do the following:
    1. Check the box next to the map area or areas you want to re-create and click Recreate.
    2. Click Recreate to confirm that you want to re-create the map area or areas you selected.
  6. To delete one or more map areas, check the box next to the map area or areas you want to delete and click Delete.

Choose the right advanced offline options for your project

When authoring a map for offline use, you can specify the information that users receive from the server by adjusting the Advanced Offline Options settings. These settings affect the data users initially download and subsequently sync from the server. These settings do not affect edits made by the user; those are always sent to the server.

To adjust the advanced offline options, click Advanced Options under Offline on the Settings tab of the map's item page. These options are configurable when the requirements detailed above for taking a map offline are met, as well as when there is at least one editable feature layer in the map and all editable feature layers in the map are either hosted feature layers or layers from ArcGIS Server 10.4 or later feature services.

The advanced offline options work out of the box in Collector for ArcGIS. Developers building their own apps with ArcGIS Runtime SDK can take advantage of these advanced options using unsupported JSON. For example, if you're building an app using ArcGIS Runtime SDK for .NET, you could use the UnsupportedJson property.

The following subsections provide more details about each of these settings and explain how to choose the right one for your project depending on the types of information your users need as well as any bandwidth or transfer time limits your organization has implemented.

Options for editable layers

In the Editable layers section, specify the types of data users retrieve from the server. Edits are always sent to the server each time the user synchronizes data. By default, both features and attachments are retrieved.

Features

Leave Features checked if users need to see the features in a work area when a map is first downloaded in addition to new and updated features after syncing. This option results in slower performance and increased storage usage for the initial download and subsequent sync operations, but it delivers all the features in a work area.

If users don't need to see existing features when they first download a map or update features they are not working with when they sync, uncheck this option. This decreases the amount of data transferred. New features are always uploaded during sync.

Attachments

Leave Attachments checked if users need to see them. This increases the size of the data you retrieve with the initial download and synchronizes with the server.

Uncheck Attachments if users don't need to see these to complete their work. Attachments will not be downloaded, which decreases storage on your mobile device and decreases the time it takes to download and sync. New attachments are always uploaded during sync.

Note:

If one or more of your layers is from ArcGIS Server 10.3.1 or earlier, you can't exclude attachments for editable layers.

Options for read-only layers

In the Read-only layers section, you only specify whether users will retrieve attachments from the server for noneditable layers. Features in read-only layers are always retrieved. Uncheck Attachments when users don't need to see attachments associated with read-only features. Users still see read-only assets, but data size and transfer time costs are reduced because users don't sync attachments.